You Have Full Control

Two Headed CoinOnce upon a time, there was a general who was leading his army into battle against an enemy ten times the size of his own.

Along the way to the battle field, the troops stopped by a small temple to pray for victory.

The general held up a coin and told his troops, “I am going to implore the gods to help us crush our enemy.

If this coin lands with the heads on top, we’ll win. If it’s tails, we’ll lose. Our fate is in the hands of the gods. Let’s pray wholeheartedly.”

After a short prayer, the general tossed the coin high into the air. It landed with the heads on top. The troops were overjoyed and went into the battle in high spirits.

Just as the coin predicted, the smaller army won the battle.

The soldiers were exalted, “It’s good to have the gods on our side! No one can change what they have determined.”

“Really?” asked the general, and showed them the coin … there was a head on both sides.

Good News, But When Will They Listen?

Good News, But When Will They Listen?The breaking news this morning, that half the people diagnosed with cancer will live at least another decade is good news indeed. But we are still missing the point when it comes to cancer.

It is great that treatment therapy for cancer is improving and is welcome news, but surely we should be ploughing money into finding a way to stop cancer forming in the first place, that way the treatments would not be needed.

Hang on a minute, isn’t that why we aren’t doing it? If all the cancers stop, the whole cancer industry stops, hundreds, thousands of people would have to find another way to earn their living. Do you think that might be why?

In fact, we already know how to stop cancer developing, science has isolated, and proven, that the ingestion of animal protein is the cause. The message is slowly getting out there, and whilst I am pleased that cancer sufferers can look forward to extended lives, these ‘good news’ messages only serve to prolong the error of our ways.

Determination Will Get It Done

Determination Will Get It DoneBeing good at something isn’t just about talent, it’s about having the desire, in your heart, to make it happen. Ichinen is a Japanese word meaning determination (amongst other things). If you have a strong Ichinen, you are far more likely to reach your goal. You still have to put in the effort and in fact, the more talent you have, the more effort is needed, because your end result might be far more exacting than a less talented person.

If you think you will fail, you will fail. You must embrace your goals, your targets, with every fibre of your being. Strive with all your might, night and day towards that goal and you are far more likely to succeed. And actually, only you decide when you have failed, when you give up trying.


[一念] (Jpn; Chin i-nien )

A single moment of life, one instant of thought, or the mind or life at a single moment. Also, life-moment, thought-moment, or simply a single moment or instant. Ichinen has various meanings in Buddhism: (1) A moment, or an extremely short period comparable to the Sanskrit term kshana. The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom defines one kshana or moment as a sixtieth of the time it takes to snap one’s fingers. (2) The functioning of the mind for one moment. The “Distinctions in Benefits” (seventeenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra speaks of a single moment of belief and understanding. (3) To focus one’s mind on meditating on a Buddha; Shan-tao (613-681), a patriarch of the Chinese Pure Land school, defined ichinen (one instant of thought) as chanting Amida Buddha’s name once. (4) T’ient’ai (538-597) philosophically interprets ichinen in his doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life ( Jpn ichinensanze Chin i-nien san-ch’ien ). In this doctrine, ichinen indicates the mind of an ordinary person, which at each moment is endowed with the potential of three thousand realms; its characteristics are: (a) it pervades the entire universe; (b) it includes both body and mind; (c) it includes both self and environment; (d) it gives rise to good and evil; and (e) it encom-passes cause and effect simultaneously. Nichiren (1222-1282) embodied this philosophical framework in the form of a mandala known as the Gohonzon. By this he aimed to establish a practical way for ordinary people to manifest Buddhahood from among the Ten Worlds of their own lives. SGI Dictionary

Success takes focus, desire, effort, hard work, determination and perseverance.

Ichinen covers them all and chanting for what you want to achieve makes your ichinen stronger and stronger.

It Might Be You

It Might Be YouSome people are always ‘up’ for things, they walk around with a smile and a spring in their step, they are Radiators. Other folks always seem to wear a frown, they look as though they are carrying the worries of the world on their shoulders. They never seem to have a good word to say about anything, they are the Drains.

A Radiator is the kind of person who leaves you feeling more energetic and enthused, after you meet or speak to them, than before. They radiate positive energy and are happy to share their life-energies with others. They appear to have a permanent smile on their faces, as though they know something others do not. In fact they do, they know that the secret path to a happy life is to pass on their happiness to others.

Drains are the complete opposite. They have the unfortunate knack of being able to sap energy and enthusiasm from other people, leaving them feeling unhappy or flat. When you meet one, and there are plenty around, the conversation is hard work, they are negative about things when you ask about how they are. In fact, you probably walk away wishing you hadn’t met them in the first place.

Our life-state can dictate whether we are a Radiator or a Drain if we let it, but concentrating on the positive side of life can change all that. When we are in the life state of Heaven we tend to Radiate energy to other people, when we are in Hell we can tend to Drain energy from others.

So think of all the good things in your life, walk around with a smile and a cheerful disposition, be a Radiator and see how people react positively towards you.

We all know a Drain when we meet one, and if you don’t, then it might just be  you.

The Global Family

Global SocietyAs Globalisation proceeds, we enter an age in which everybody’s actions strongly influence everybody else.

If we realise this, we can then alter our mind-set and strive to build a global society of mutual coexistence and mutual prosperity.

This will be done by going beyond devotion to the interests of the individual or the  nation-state and devoting ourselves to the interests of all humanity.

As Dr Martin Luther King said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’.

The key to the solution is the imagination to care for others.

It is the empathising heart, or what Buddhists mean when they talk about mercy.

A Strong Influence

A Strong InfluenceNichiren said …

‘Mugwort that grows in the midst of hemp, or a snake that is put inside a tube, will as a matter of course become straight. Likewise, those who associate with people of good character will consequently become upright in heart, deed and word’.

If we apply this passage to various influences upon children, we may say that the environment surrounding children, particularly the behaviour of adults, has a great bearing on the way they develop.

Parents must set a good example for their children before nagging them to do, or not to do, this or that. They must strive to become a good, upright influence for their children, like the hemp or the tube are for the Mugwort or the snake.

It is also important for parents to encourage their children to be influenced by people of good character outside their own family circle, so that the children are guided in a more positive direction.

In this age of increasingly disenfranchised youth, the stronger the influence to become a person of good character, the better it will be for them, and for society as a whole.

The Wrong End Of The Stick

CaspulesNICE, the NHS drugs watchdog, is set to refuse to provide the £90,000 Trastuzumab Emtansine breast cancer treatment to patients on the grounds of cost. As many of you will know, my daughter had breast cancer, had treatment, and has now been tested clear, so I have a vested interest in such issues.

How much is life worth? How much would you pay to spend a year, a month, a week or a day extra with your loved ones? Life is priceless, but the greed of the pharmaceutical industry knows no bounds. They are beholding to their shareholders and are driven purely by the profits they can make from people who find themselves stuck between a rock and a very hard place.

The really annoying part of all this, is that the cancer industry, those who make a living from researching, isolating, diagnosing, and treating cancer cases, have really got the wrong end of the stick in my opinion.

Rather than trying to find cures or treatments for cancer, which like the common cold, has thousands of variants, they should be concentrating on finding the cause. But finding the cause doesn’t make you rich, and once it’s found, what will you do with the rest of your life?

We know that cancer is caused by any number of things, but we also know that it stops developing in the absence of animal protein in the diet. So why are we all still so keen to fund research and treatment when we know how to stop cancer in its tracks?

Money, that’s why. Like the meat and dairy industries, the cancer industry would collapse overnight, with the loss of thousands of jobs, if the truth were widely known. Not exactly a disaster if we look a the bigger picture though. A world without cancer would be a better world, and all the money saved, could be used to fund more worthy schemes.

So let’s stop looking the wrong way down the microscope, let’s grasp the right and of the stick, and give the Big C the heave-ho once and for all.

For more information, take a look here …

Vegan Enlightenment

Vegan EnlightenmentMy friend and fellow vegan Juliet defines the vegan practice thus: Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

Enlightenment is a state in which we are aware of the ultimate truth and meaning of everything. As a Buddhist, I strive for enlightenment and also try to avoid, as far as possible, bringing harm or suffering to any other living creature.

When we are aware that each moment of each day, each gesture and step we take, is truly mystical and full of wonder, we will live our lives with greater thought and care. We will also have greater respect and appreciation for the lives of others.

The two overlap in many ways, and although you don’t have to be Buddhist to be vegan, or vegan to be Buddhist, they fit together like a hand in a glove.

Summon Your Courage

Summon Your CourageWe all have choices to make in life. Everything from whether to take tea or coffee to the major life-changing decisions regarding money, relationships, children and careers.

Whatever the choice you have to make, make it with wisdom, courage and compassion.

If you summon your courage to challenge something, you will never regret it. It would be so sad to spend your life wishing, “If only I had a little more courage.”

Whatever the outcome, the important thing is to take a step forward on the path that you believe is right.

Do not worry too much about what others may think. It is your life. Be true to yourself.

Breaking Down The Challenge

Old Harry Rocks From The South West Coastal PathThe alarm went off at 7:00am, the same as it would on any Monday morning, but this morning was all about making the most of the Bank holiday. My challenge was to complete my Purbecks Figure O’ Eight ride, a round trip of close to 70km, before the roads filled up with visitors and holidaymakers.

Ok, so it’s no Tour de France stage, but neither is it a trip to the corner shop either. Rather than looking at the ride as a whole, I set myself a series of small challenges, getting to the ferry, rounding the corner at Old Harry Rocks, reaching Swanage etc.

Breaking a task into little steps makes it more achievable and cycling is no different. When the going gets tough the tasks get shorter, the climb up Creech Hill for example, gets broken into the individual slopes that make up the whole hill. The 20% incline is only about 15 to 20 metres, but it’s a challenge all of its own.

Similarly, in Nichiren Buddhism, attaining enlightenment is not about embarking on some inconceivably long journey to become a resplendent, godlike Buddha, it is about accomplishing a transformation in the depths of one’s being.

In other words, it is not a matter of practicing in order to scale the highest summit of enlightenment at some point in the distant future. Rather it is a constant, moment to moment, inner struggle between revealing our innate Dharma nature or allowing ourselves to be ruled by our fundamental darkness and delusion.

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